Archive for 2011

Jun 10 2011
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Increased Sulphur Pollution in Reykjavík Due to Geothermal Expansion in Hellisheiði


The Public Health Authority of Reykjavík is highly critical of the recently published preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for a 45 MW construction of geothermal power plants at Gráuhnjúkar on Hellisheiði. The reason is that the EIA, carried out by engineering firm Mannvit, hardly mentions the possible effects of the project’s sulphur pollution on the human population living in the capital area of Reykjavík. “They mention the impacts of increased amount of hydrogen sulphide at the power plant area, but hardly mention the capital area where a high proportion of the population lives” said Árný Sigurðardóttir from the Public Health Authority in an interview with newspaper Fréttablaðið. The power plant in Hellisheiði is only about 30 km away from Reykjavík.

Since October 2006 Orkuveita Reykjavíkur (Reykjavík Energy) has produced geothermal energy on Hellisheiði, predominantly for the Norðurál/Century aluminium smelter in Grundartangi, Hvalfjörður. Since then increased sulphur pollution in the power plant’s surrounding area, as well as in the area around Reykjavík, has regularly become a topic of discussion and Sigurðardóttir says that the pollution’s impacts are systematically underestimated. Instead of using recent researches into the issue, Mannvit bases the EIA on prediction-models, but new studies by the University of Reykjavík indicate that the increased use of medicine for asthma and heart disease angina pectoris is directly linked to increased sulphur pollution. Read More

Jun 08 2011

A9ainst – Documentary About the Reykjavík Nine Premiered This Weekend


This weekend a new documentary about the Reykjavík Nine will be premiered in Iceland. The film, called A9aginst (Ge9n in Icelandic), is directed by author, philosopher and filmmaker Haukur Már Helgason and will be shown at the documentary film festival Skjaldborg, in Patreksfjörður (on the Westfjords), on June 11th. According to the film’s website, “this feature-length documentary is a portrait, or rather nine portraits, of people charged and prosecuted in Iceland for ‘attacking parliament’ in December 2008.”

In a conversation with online newspaper Róstur, the director explained briefly his motivation for making the film:

I make the film… well, I guess because there one catches a glimpse of some potential, some possibility, a will for another kind of society, in the minds of a group of people who the state power has, by charging them, defined as a certain set. The charges basically call for an investigation about who these people, defined as enemies, are, and which thoughts someone somewhere can find so dangerous – because it was clear from the beginning that it was not the “action” in the parliament that was considered so dangerous. Read More

Jun 07 2011
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The Reverend Billy Project – New Book About to be Published


Our good friends, Reverend Billy and Savitri D, from the Church of Life After Shopping!, are about to release a book that covers the last few years of their work, includes campaigns in NYC and around the world, including Iceland, organizing they have done with many of you and stories from the field. The book, titled The Reverend Billy Project: From Rehearsal Hall to Super Mall with the Church of Life After Shopping, will come out this summer and on June 13th, Reverend Billy, Savitri D. & The Stop Shopping Gospel Choir will perform “radical fun, fresh musical offerings and damn the mono culture polemics” in Housing Works Bookstore & Cafe, New York.

In July 2007 Reverend Billy and Savitri D joined Saving Iceland’s international conference, titled Global Consequences of Heavy Industry and Large Dams, which Billy presided. A few days later Billy, Savitri and Saving Iceland exorcised heavy industry in Iceland during a ceremony in shopping mall Kringlan, Reykjavík. A year later Billy sent Saving Iceland a letter, inspired by his participation in 2007, which can be read here. Read More

Jun 04 2011

Fundamental Questions About Modern Civilization Itself – Arundhati Roy on “Broken Republic”


In the video above, Indian author Arundhati Roy talks about her recently published book, Broken Republic: Three Essays, and how the Indian government is, along with international mining corporations, violating the indigenous of India, destroying their lands and displacing them, leading to a constantly increasing gap between the rich and the poor. One of the book’s essays, titled “Mr Chidambaram’s War”, focuses on the Dongria Kondh tribe in Odisha, who have fought against Vedanta’s and ALCAN’s bauxite mining for aluminium production over the last decades.

The following text explains Broken Republic’s content briefly:

War has spread from the borders of India to the forests in the very heart of the country. Combining brilliant analysis and reportage by one of India’s iconic writers, Broken Republic examines the nature of progress and development in the emerging global superpower, and asks fundamental questions about modern civilization itself.

May 25 2011
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More Flouride in Animals Around Aluminium Factories than Elsewhere – Environmental Agency Refuses to Investigate


For the last two years, a horse-farmer close to the Norðurál/Century aluminium smelter in Grundartangi, Hvalfjörður, has tried to get supervisory bodies to investigate mysterious sickness, which her horses suffer from. According to recent studies, a great amount of fluoride has been found in the bones of horses close to Grundartangi, much more than in horses in the north of Iceland. In an interview with RÚV (Iceland’s state-owned TV station) last week, the farmer, Ragnheiður Þorgrímsdóttir, said that since June 2007, one horse after another has become sick; their movements are stiff and their hoofs seem to grow unnaturally. Read More

May 24 2011
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Red Mud Spill and People’s Resistance at Niyamgiri: A First Hand Report From the Struggle


From Miriam Rose

On 16th May after heavy rain, toxic red mud poured from a breach in one of Vedanta’s Lanjigarh refinery red mud ponds, spilling onto the village below. The next day landless people displaced by the project held two blockades demanding adequate compensation; a five day walking protest ended with a meeting of 500 people on the threatened Niyamgiri hills; and the funeral of a tribal movement leader, killed by factory pollution, was held. Two months before Vedanta’s often-subverted AGM this will be bad news for the company. This is a direct report from the scene. Read More

May 20 2011
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Cover-ups and Evasions Condoned by the Minister of the Interior


Statement from Saving Iceland regarding the recently published report by the National Commissioner’s ‘National Security Unit’. The report was requested by the Minister of the Interior and was supposed to answer the questions if the Icelandic police were aware of and collaborated in British police spy Mark Kennedy’s infiltration of the Saving Iceland network. (Translated from Icelandic.)

The Saving Iceland network has spent some time examining the report authored  by the National Commissioner’s ‘National Security Unit’ published on May 17. Already at this stage we would like to make a considerable number of remarks.

First of all we have to express our astonishment if Ögmundur Jónasson, the Minister of the Interior is going to accept as valid the poorly reasoned cover-ups that are resorted to by the report’s authors. It is also remarkable how superficial and simply untrue the Minister’s own interpretation of the report has been so far. Unfortunately the same is true of the coverage of the report made by some of the Icelandic corporate media.

The report’s most serious flaw is of course the fact that it completely evades the responsibility that it was officially intended to assume. The only de facto information about the report’s actual subject is on page 12,  where it is stated that the police received “confidential information” concerning the intended protests against the Kárahnjúkar dam from both domestic and foreign “informers”, and that this information was used to organize the police’s reaction. Read More

May 12 2011

German MP Appeals to Icelandic Authorities to Come Clean About Spying on Saving Iceland


Statement issued by German Linke MP Andrej Hunko sent to all Icelandic MPs and media.

International infiltration of protest movements to be investigated

“I appeal to the Icelandic authorities to bring to light, in their investigations, the covert activities of foreign police in Iceland. Given that the British police spy Mark Kennedy was active not only in Germany, but also in France, Italy, Poland, Ireland and Iceland, it is obvious that these operations targeted left-wing activists with international links,” said Andrej Hunko, Member of the German Parliament, after gathering new evidence on Kennedy’s activities in Iceland.

Hunko continued:

“I’m glad to see investigations by activists and parliamentarians in their countries to uncover the cross-border efforts to infiltrate anti-capitalist groups. But most interior ministries in the EU member states are remaining silent about their cooperation or are giving conflicting responses. Read More

May 11 2011

Landsvirkjun Wants Icelanders to Settle Upon 14 New Power Plants


Landsvirkjun, Iceland’s national energy company, plans to build fourteen power plants in the next 15 years; ten hydro dams and four geothermal plants, costing between 4,5 and 5 billion US dollars. If the plans go ahead Landsvirkjun will increase its electricity production by eleven terawatt hours (TWh), resulting in annual production of 40 TWh. “A new Kárahnjúkar dam is on the cards,” said Katrín Júlíusdóttir, minster of industry, when discussing  energy plans in parliament recently.

Landsvirkjun’s new plan was presented at the company’s annual general meeting, which took place on April 15th. According to the company’s director, Hörður Árnason, the planned power plants are to be built in several rivers, including Þjórsá, Tungnaá and Hólmsá, as well as geothermal areas in the north of Iceland. The construction of Búðarháls Dam in Tungnaá has already started and Landsvirkjun plans to start energy production there in 2013, whereas all the other options are still being looked at in the making of a framework programme concerning the use and protection of Iceland natural resources. Read More

May 11 2011

Reykjavík Nine: What Did We Learn?


By Magnús Sveinn Helgason

By mid March, the case against the Reykjavík Nine (who had been accused of conspiracy to attack Alþingi with the intent of compromising its “independence and sanctity”) finally came to a close when the state prosecutor decided not to appeal the Reykjavík district court ruling in the case. The nine had been acquitted of all the major charges of the prosecution.

Not for lack of evidence or because the nine were able to slip through legal loopholes. No, the court found that there was absolutely no evidence to support the case of the prosecution; that there was absolutely nothing that indicated the group had ever intended to do anything but exercise its constitutional right to protest peacefully in a public space. The court did, however, find four protesters guilty of relatively minor offences: disobeying police orders and obstructing public officials performing their duties. Read More

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